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Mauricio Cortes Ortega

2018 Smelser Vallion Visiting Artist 


Mauricio Cortes Ortega


Mauricio Cortes Ortega was born in 1990 northern Mexico and moved to the United States in 1999.He received his B.F.A. from The Cooper Union in 2012 and his M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University School of Art in 2016. Cortes was the recipient of the Schell Center for international Human Rights Travel fellowship, traveling with artist Laura Genes along the US-MX Border, exploring the intersection between art and artistic practices and international human rights. Mauricio was the recipient of the Jóvenes Creadores Mexican National Council for Culture and Arts painting fellowship (2013) and the Benjamin Menschel Travel Fellowship Award for “The Nancy Flowers Project”, a multimedia project that delivered photographs taken by anthropologist, Nancy Flowers in the 1980’s back to their subjects. His work has been exhibited at Mulherin New York; Silk Road Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Infinity Room, Los Angeles; and Greenhall Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. In 2015, a collaborative work with Laura Genes was exhibited as part of the 2015 Biennal de las Fronteras in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Mauricio Cortes currently lives and works in New York City.


Learn more about Mauricio Cortes Ortega

Artist Talk By Mauricio Cortes Ortega

A talk was held on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 on HArwood Museum of Arts Taos, NM.

During the Bosque Redondo internment years (1863-1868) a dramatic shift in Navajo weaving was seen. The availability of never before used yarns, European looms and the interjection of the Mexican sarape brought by Spanish settlers moving to Chimayo and the New Mexico area.  Through this forced hybridization the Rio Grande Sarape was made and is now a rare visual representation of converging cultures, that of northern indigenous Mexicans, Navajo people and Spanish colonists.

The moment of intersection between the woven fabrics serve as a point of departure for this talk. Striped visual elements in the artist’s works were presented as they correlate to the history of textiles in Mexico and the American Southwest, as well as issues of colonialism, technology, trade, forced labor and design. The native Nahuatl name for these sarapes: acocemalotic-tilmatli roughly translates to “rainbow mantle.”

Artist Talk: Mauricio Cortes Ortega


Mauricio Cortes Ortega presented an artist talk in Stillwater at the OSU Museum of Art on November 15, 2018. This presentation focused on Mauricio's interests and art, including work done during his residency as the Smelser Vallion Visiting Artist at the Doel Reed Center in Taos, New Mexico. He explored histories of particular objects and the contrasting realities about the history of making — often related to harsh narratives veiled by folklore and romanticism. Subjects include Mexican sarape textiles, colonial votive crowns, piñatas, balloons, and silversmithing in Mexico to a name a few. As a visual artist, Mauricio makes paintings and sculptures that pair seemingly distant ideas and create visuals that provide insight into the history of a particular object and process.

Community/Student Engagement Workshop
Monoprinting with oil sticks: Lines in Color

Visiting artist Mauricio Cortes Ortega led a workshop and demonstration on November 16, 2018 at the Prairie Arts Center over monoprinting — a form of printmaking that has lines or images that can only be made once.

The artist highlighted the many techniques and approaches to monoprinting — such as oil sticks. He also discussed the virtues of the monoprinting process and how it is akin to painting and drawing but involves an intermediary step that can be liberating and surprising. Two different approaches were explored: participants made one print without an intaglio press and one using the press.

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